Raise the bar for student achievement with a breakthrough learning platform that delivers significant gains in concept mastery within six hours of use.
The Learning Model
Speak Agent accelerates mastery of key academic concepts by integrating language and core content in Math, Reading, and Science. It's a unique research-based solution that integrates listening, speaking, reading, and writing components, as well as visual and interactive learning (Graves, 2009; Nisbet & Austin, 2013).
Bravo et al. (2007) showed that academic language and vocabulary knowledge develops in a particular sequence of steps. It begins with students familiarizing themselves with new words and concepts. It then progresses to developing comprehension. Finally, learners begin to apply their vocabulary knowledge in context. Knowledge progresses from "passive control" (understanding a word's basic meaning) to "active control" (applying a word or concept in varied contexts).
Multimodal Learning Redefined
Multimodal learning is a catalyst for this process. Too often core content vocabulary is treated as a list of definitions to be memorized, not as complex concepts to be unpacked. In Speak Agent, "multimodal" combines traditional aural, verbal, and textual aspects of language learning (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) with visual, kinesthetic, metacognitive, experiential, and collaborative learning modes. These multiple modes provide the scaffolds that diverse learners need, both in guided instruction and in independent practice.
Successful concept acquisition requires exposure through oral and written resources in multiple contexts aligned to the curriculum (Peregoy & Boyle, 2013). In Speak Agent, activities are digital templates that can be populated with your words and content. The activities then develop foundational skills and knowledge using the targeted concepts, vocabulary, syntax, and context that align with curriculum resources and standards such as CCSS, NGSS, TELPAS/TEKS/STAAR, NYS Next Generation Learning Standards, CPALMS/LAFS/MAFS, CA ELD. (Speak Agent can handle the content development and alignment process.)
Evidence-Based Learning Strategies
By implementing proven multimodal learning strategies in the context of your curriculum, students can overcome the academic language barrier. Game-based learning is one key strategy. It converts what would normally be an insurmountable challenge into a challenge that is both achievable and desirable. As one teacher observed during a recent NSF-sponsored study, “For students who are behind academically or struggle with technology ... once they start playing [Speak Agent games], they get really engaged and don’t want to stop!”
Speak Agent also supports a growth mindset that inspires and provides room for student agency, curiosity, creativity, and exploration. In its evaluation report, Rockman et al reported that teachers observed students engaging in the content by "asking questions about challenging topics, and wanting to look up additional information on their own time." Students even created their own experiments based on content introduced in Speak Agent.
The combination of multimodal, game-based learning, peer interaction and collaboration, and many other research-based strategies creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts. It delivers better outcomes by engaging students in drawing connections between curriculum content and the world they experience.
How the Learning Model Works
The Speak Agent learning model is composed of several layers:
- The foundation of the model is a broad array of proven content vocabulary learning strategies. These strategies fall into one of nine categories, as shown above.
- Each strategy is expressed by a variety of multimodal learning tasks with multisensory supports that develop reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills critical to language development.
- Students and teachers put the strategies and multimodal learning into practice by interacting with customizable digital games, creative projects, and other engaging academic language learning activities. Each activity is a template that we tailor with digital content. Teachers generally have broad flexibility whether to use the activities in guided instruction, independent practice, or group collaboration.
- Speak Agent tailors the content to fit your curriculum for each targeted subject, course, and level. Digital lessons are tagged and searchable by standard. This content development and alignment process is part of Speak Agent's standard implementation.